The idea that Singapore is now advising the special rapporteur of the United Nations on how to do his job is the classic 'attack the man and completely ignore the ball' tactic of Singaporean debate. Unable to engage in debate, because its mandatory - discredit your opponent by telling him he is doing a bad job, for not recognising the 'fact' that it is mandatory.
However the title of the article alludes to a wider issue, Philip Alston monitors the death penalty for the United Nations not Australia.
Wednesday Nov 16 22:32 AEST
Singapore has spurned a United Nations bid to halt the execution of Australian drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, accusing its special rapporteur of trying to mislead the public.
In a strongly worded statement, the city-state said Philip Alston, the Australian who monitors the death penalty for the world body, of diminishing the credibility of his office.
The blunt rejection appears to close off a final avenue of hope for Nguyen, 25, who is expected to be hanged this month after being arrested at Singapore's Changi Airport in 2002 with almost 400 grams of heroin.
Late on Tuesday, Mr Alston had in a surprise move appealed to Singapore to halt Ngyuen's execution, saying that it would violate international legal standards.
The statement followed a last-ditch appeal to the UN from M Ravi, a Singapore human rights lawyer who has attempted to stave off the Melbourne mans execution.
Nguyen was sentenced to death in March 2004 and all appeals for clemency from his legal team and the Australian government have so far been rebuffed.
"We regret that Mr Alston has attempted to mislead the public. In doing so, he diminishes the credibility of his office," the Singapore statement from the ministry of foreign affairs said.
In his appeal, Mr Alston had focused particular attention on Singapore's mandatory use of the death sentence.
"Such a black and white approach is entirely inappropriate where the life of the accused is at stake," Mr Alston said.
Singapore law dictates that anyone convicted of carrying more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine, or 500 grams of marijuana is deemed a trafficker, and must be hanged.
The local courts have no discretion to consider extenuating circumstances in such cases.
But Singapore said that the case law cited by Mr Alston was inappropriate.
"Mr Alston grossly misrepresented the facts in claiming that the Singapore Court of Appeal considered a range of cases decided by the Privy Council (but) failed to examine the most relevant case of all ie Boyce and Joseph v The Queen," the Singapore statement said.
"That case was in fact cited by Nguyen's lawyers in their written arguments and the Court of Appeal dealt with it in its judgment".
The Singapore statement went on to claim Mr Alston had overstepped his UN authority in even considering Nguyen's case.
"Mr Nguyen was tried and convicted in an entirely open, fair and transparent manner, according to due process of law, as has been acknowledged by the Australian government," it said.
"Therefore this case does not fall within (Mr Alston's) mandate."